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Salute - The Underground - 88%

altered_state, July 20th, 2010

Lately it seems that the prominent reintroduction of Punk into at least one of the many facets of the broad Black Metal ethos has resulted in a thoroughly sleazy aesthetic that wasn’t really an overly prominent feature previously. Sure bands like Carpathian Forest and Impaled Nazarene always had a somewhat delightfully perverse streak, but it was never the focal point of their music. Why this has happened I don’t know; maybe it has something to do with the popularity of the appalling Chrome Division and Hardcore Superstar? Whatever the reason, predictably very few people are able to successfully manage sleaze in relation to Black Metal (or any genre for that matter) without resorting to tired clichés and/or relying solely on hipster-ironic Mötley Crüe, 80s glam/hair metal fashion.

However Salute is different, in no small part to their seeming decision to use a blueprint of Motörhead mixed with a healthy dose of hypnotic, almost droning Black Metal and Doom. Due to this the pacing is a weirdly subdued mid-paced Black ‘n’ Roll with more repetition of riffs than would normally be conventional, yet somehow it nonetheless manages to be infectiously catchy and eminently headbangable owing to edgy chord progressions. In fact this mildly obscurer sound is actually more compelling than their debut full-length which contained slightly faster tracks with corresponding shorter lengths and an unfortunately weaker production. Nevertheless it still managed to be a world away from Darkthrone’s misanthropic and violently self-depreciating reorientation; instead featuring a proud, sinister tradition expanded on The Underground by turning the all the bass controls further up and, as stated, marginally slowing down. It now sounds as if Salute occupy the role of the drunkenly rebellious, bullet belt-wearing, skinhead teenage son in contrast to the aristocratic parent represented by The Ruins Of Beverast.

Unfortunately there still aren’t many of the creeping guitar leads or solos Salute do so well, but on the other hand though the amount of gang vocals has increased, hooking the listener further and incurring more righteous headbanging and fistpumping. Aside from the odd decipherable line about fighting, beer, women, Satan, combinations thereof and the frequent mantras of title tracks, the bellowed lyrics are typically masked by a slight layer of distortion that sounds more like the product of shouting into a cheap mic than anything else. In essence Salute is dirty Punk/Rock ‘n’ Roll influenced Black Metal for fans of Carpathian Forest, Darkthrone, Deströyer 666, Discharge, Fukpig, Hellhammer, Impaled Nazarene, Kvelertak, Malignant Tumour, Motörhead, Thralldom, Witchmaster and to a lesser extent The Meads Of Asphodel. Highly recommended. They also fucking rule live if you get the chance.